Australia: fifth Indigenous custody death in a month

An Indigenous inmate at Australian Perth’s Casuarina prison has died in hospital, adding to a recent spate of Aboriginal deaths in custody, reported local media. 

The fifth death since the beginning of March involves a 45-year-old male inmate at Western Australia’s main maximum-security prison.

He was taken to a local hospital last Friday and died next day after undergoing a medical procedure and being placed in intensive care.

“His next of kin have been notified,” the Western Australia Department of Justice said last Sunday.

The state police will prepare a report for a coronial inquiry, in accordance with all deaths in custody.

There has been a spate of Indigenous deaths in custody across Australia over the past month.

Barkindji man Anzac Sullivan, 37, died during a police pursuit in Broken Hill, New South Wales on 18 March.

Another man died in Victoria’s Ravenhall correctional centre on 7 March and a woman in her 50s died in custody in NSW on the same day.

A man in his 30s died in NSW on 2 March.

More than 450 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody since the release of the 1991 landmark royal commission report.

With the 30-year anniversary of the 339 recommendations next month, Indigenous leaders are demanding more action to fix the shameful statistics.

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